Keith Jones, co-anchor of the morning and noon newscasts at St. Petersburg-based CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10, will be leaving the station next month for the NBC-owned and operated station in Miami, WTVJ.
Jones, who came to WTSP in 2009 from Pittsburgh, is expected to leave the station in mid-July. He'll co-anchor WTVJ's 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. newscasts alongside Pam Giganti; moving south to a station owned by a broadcast network offering new opportunities to move up the industry ladder.
Jones came to WTSP as it was pouring more resources into its morning show — joining co-anchor Ginger Gadsden, who had led the show as its sole news anchor for some time.
But the program still struggled for ratings; during May's "sweeps" period the station's morning show placed last among viewers aged 25 to 54 from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
I also wrote in January about how Jones and Gadsden appeared in a commercial for a monster truck rally formatted to resemble a newscast, triggering ethical concerns among some experts.
Chris Ford, assistant news director at WTSP, said Jones' departure wasn't connected the to show's longtime ratings challenges.
"I think we're headed in a good direction in mornings and we're disappointed to lose him," said Ford. "But it's a great opportunity for him."
Ford said the station may try rotating different anchors into the job, including Eric Glasser and Allison Kropff, before picking a permanent co-host.
Jones also has a little history in South Florida; a graduate of Barry University in Miami Shores with a bachelor's degree in communication and broadcast journalism. He played NCAA baseball at Barry University and eventually went to work at WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach.